Saturday, January 05, 2008

FDA to Back Food from Cloned Animals

Now, if they would just screen more animals then they currently do for BSE. Surveillance in that arena could be improved significantly.
Cows such as Diamond, above front, who was cloned from naturally born Jewel, rear, could within a few years provide meat and milk to U.S. consumers as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to declare products from them and their offspring to be safe. The public has not reacted favorably to the idea, and Congress wants further study. At right, cell culture work takes place at ViaGen, which provided many animals that researchers studied for the FDA.

Having completed a years-long scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration is set to announce as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start making their way toward supermarket shelves, sources in contact with the agency said yesterday.

The decision would be a notable act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed appropriations legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies. Moreover, the Senate version of the Farm bill, yet to be reconciled with the House version, contains stronger, binding language that would block FDA action on cloned food, probably for years.

With a conference committee poised to finalize the farm bill in the next few weeks, that left the FDA a potentially narrow time frame within which to act if it wanted to settle the issue in sync with America's major meat-trading partners.

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